Dance

Image of the poster for the film Calamus. The poster depicts a woman and a man in white button-down shirts and black pants. They are standing on either side of the poster with their heads turned to centre, looking at each other. The text reads: Darren Ivany. Ainsley Hawthorn. Calamus, a Kenneth J. Harvey Film based on a Walt Whitman poem. Composer: Andrew Staniland. Cello: Vernon Regehr.  Voice: Jane Leibel. Choreography: Kelly Meadus.

Calamus

A short experimental film by Kenneth J. Harvey starring Ainsley Hawthorn and Darren Ivany

Showing at film festivals in 2020

A woman with long, curly brown hair spins a wooden cane between her hands in front of her body. She wears a black dress decorated with silver metal in geometric patterns.

Ainsley Hawthorn is a professional dancer who specializes in Middle Eastern and international folk dance, with a focus on the dances of Egypt. She has recently begun experimenting with contemporary dance and enjoys ballroom and Latin styles recreationally.

She has studied the dances of the Middle East with expert instructors from around the world, including Morocco, Ranya Renée, Mahmoud Reda, Artemis Mourat, and Reyhan Tuzsuz. She has taught dance through Yale University Sports and Recreation (New Haven, CT) and Wild Lily Dance Studio (St. John's, NL) and spent six years as a choreographer and performer with the Yale Belly Dance Society.

Styles:

  • Raqs sharqi ("Eastern" or "Oriental" dance) - A solo improvisational style performed in many Middle Eastern countries. Raqs sharqi expresses the sound and feeling of the music through intricate movements of the hips, abdomen, chest, and shoulders and sometimes incorporates spectacular props like veil, Isis wings, and sword.
  • Saidi - A proud and playful folkloric style from Upper (southern) Egypt that often features a cane (assaya) as a prop. Some of the movements of Saidi dance mimic aspects of daily life in rural Egypt, such as rowing a boat on the Nile, threshing grain in the fields, and the prancing of Saidi horses.
  • Hagallah - An earthy folkloric dance from Libya and the Mersa Matruh region of Western Egypt that traditionally celebrated a young girl's coming-of-age.
  • Debke - A folk line dance from the Levant region consisting of steps, kicks, hops, and stomps.
  • International folk dance - Line and circle dances from a variety of cultures and countries, including Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Taiwan, and Turkey.
A woman with long, curly brown hair leans against a tree in a lush garden. She is wearing a black dance bra, arm bands, and long skirt with red and gold sparkling decorations.

Ainsley performs a contemporary dance improvisation inspired by yurei (Japanese ghosts) at Caravanserai: After Dark, St. John's, on Saturday, October 6, 2018.

Music: Underground by Nature

Photo of a woman with long, curly brown hair standing in a New York street during a parade. She is dancing and wearing a gold bra and belt dance costume with a pink skirt and sleeves. She holds large, iridescent white wings on an angle behind her.

Watch

Ainsley is an elegant and commanding performer known for blending precise technique with musicality.

Photo of eight people of all ages dancing in a semi-circle. Each dancer is wearing black pants and a different colour t-shirt, and they're holding hands in a criss-cross pattern.

Learn

Ainsley is not currently teaching weekly dance classes but is available to give workshops in Middle Eastern and international folk dance to students of all ages.

1-hour taster lessons for beginners are a fun and educational activity for schools, community groups, parties, and festivals.

More advanced dancers can schedule a 1- to 3-hour workshop on a special topic, like Egyptian dance technique, musicality, propwork, or folkloric dance.

Dance Research

Link to an article from The Telegram - Shaking, shimmying and breaking down stereotypes
Link to an article from VOCM News - Oxford English Dictionary Contacts Local Historian to Help Redefine 'Belly Dance' Following VOCM Story
Link to article from VOCM News - Local Historian Redefining Belly Dance, Literally

Ainsley performs Oriental dance at Columbia University, New York.

Music: Hobak Salehny by Warda